And When Did You Last See Your Father?


What a spectacle.

Millions and millions of stars.

Funny thing, the universe.

Sort of scares the sh*t out of you,

doesn't it?

So where did it

all come from, do you think?

Don't know.

Just happened, I suppose.

So, what about when we die?


Nothing at all?

What fathead has caused all this?

Listen... the first race has started.


All that money to sit in a queue.

Arthur! Just relax, will you?

I know, how about a song?

- There's been an accident.

- Where?!

I don't know, do I, fathead?!

That's what we're gonna find out.

Why can't you just sit and wait

like everybody else?

- Show them the stethoscope, pet.

- What for?

- Let them know we're doctors.

- We'll do no such thing.

- What are you doing?

- It's all right. I'm a doctor.

I'm a doctor, there's been an accident.

I'm a doctor.

This is the way

that it was with my father.

Minor duplicities.

Little fiddles.

My childhood a web

of little scams and triumphs.

Parking where you shouldn't.

Drinking after hours.

The goods off the back of a lorry.

He was lost if he couldn't cheat

in a small way.

My father could talk his way

into and out of anything.

- Tickets, sir.

- Certainly, here you are.

- These are blue tickets, sir.

- Exactly.

That is the whole problem.

I've been sent the wrong tickets.

I'm sorry, sir. This entrance

is for private members only.

- You'll have to go back to queue.

- But I am a member. See?

Simpson, T, Trevor. Doctor, you see?

As a matter of fact, we're in a bit

of a rush. The lad wants a wee-wee.

- All right, Dr Simpson, in you go.

- Thank you very much.

How about that, Blake?

Three bob tickets for just two bob.

Marvellous, bloody marvellous.

My father seemed to me infallible.


Immortal, even.

What do you think?

Very handsome.

- I hope I'm going to get a mention.

- Mention?

- In your acceptance speech.

- Oh, God, a speech.

You really think

I'm going to have to make a speech?

- Do we have time?

- I think so.

What's going on in there?

Right on cue.

The sex police.

Be right there, Dad!

We'll be late!

You got two minutes.

Hear that? We got two minutes.

At the risk of getting sentimental, I'd

like to say thank-you to my wife, Kathy.

Not only for all her support

and encouragement,

but because she asked me to mention her.

My dad always used to say,

and I'm sure he'll say it again

before the night's out,

"Being a writer, in particular a poet,

is all well and good.

But it's no way to make a living."

Of course, as in most other things,

he's absolutely right.

Too true.

It's nice to be reminded I haven't been

completely wasting my time.

So thank you very much for this.

Thank you.

I wanted him to be a doctor.

Nice pension, surgery, near us.

Take over my surgery for that matter.

Have you actually read the poem?

- 'Course he hasn't read it.

- He's tried.

- Several times.

- Let's have a look then.

- It's plastic.

- I'll take that from you, shall I?

I'm going to the bar.

He could've been a vet even.

Two words, that's all I'd like.

Two words.

- "Well" and "done".

- He doesn't mean it.

He's here for the free buffet.

The mean-spirited, sanctimonious,

narrow-minded old sod.

- What now?

- He's talking to Salman Rushdie.

Look, he's telling him

how it's done.

"Have you read Jaws,

Salman? Now that is a book."

- Together.

- Like this, Granddad?

Oh, now where are you going?

What's that?

Have a guess.

Now bring it to me. No, no, no.

- Ends together. Like that.

- Just leave that, Dad.

I still can't believe you hired a

removal firm. They're rip-off merchants.

We could've done the whole thing

for nothing in the van.

- There was too much stuff for the van.

- You can afford it on what you earn?

Who wants to take mummy

up some breakfast?

- Bye, Granddaddy.

- See you later.

My little helpers!

- I do all right, Dad.

- Why'd you borrow this money off me?

- If you were a doctor...

- A bit late for this conversation.

- What's this doing here?

- It's going in the loft.

- This is Uncle Bert's chandelier.

- It's wire and glass, Dad.

Right. I'm going to need a stepladder.

Phillips screwdriver.

Length of rope.

- Dad?

- It's all right.

Don't fuss. It's nothing.

Your father's going to die, Blake.

Of course we all die sooner or later,

but I'm afraid, with your father,

it will be sooner.

- Will there be pain?

- There shouldn't be.

Not with this kind of cancer.

Usually they just slip away.

- So how long?

- Can't say.

Depends if he feels like fighting.

He knows then?

He asked me the moment he came around.

So I put him in the picture.

- But we do have time?

- That depends.

- Time for what?

- Well, time for... know, putting things in order.

That means you have

to get the conundrum.

If you do, you will win

by just one point.

It's so dramatic, I want to spell it out

so we all know what lies ahead

in the next few seconds. OK.

So very intense time for everybody now.

Please now, if everyone's ready,

reveal the final

Countdown Conundrum.

- What did the doctor say?

- He said there's progress.

Said you'd be back home soon.

... young woman was

discovered in a house

in the Clacton area of Leeds

just after midnight last night.

Terrible. Just terrible.

- Know what I'd do?

- Bring back hanging?

Go if you want.

Actually, maybe I will,

if that's OK.

I'll pop back when you're home?

Bring Kathy and the kids?

What do I want visitors for?

Not now, but maybe when you're at home.

Come in, number one. Your time's up.

Number two, your time's up.

Come in, number three.

I'd better go, or I'll miss the train.

See you soon.

We're looking for Arthur Morrison.

Arthur Morrison. Back corridor.

Thank you.

I came as quickly as I could.

Am I too late?

Who's that then?

It's Blake, Dad.

Blake. Blake, good.

How did you get from the station?


Taxi, eh? Moneybags.

When did His Lordship arrive?

Just now.

He's with him now.

- Back in London by teatime.

- Gillian.

That's enough.

How's he taking it?

- Don't know yet.

- Hello.


All right.

Get off.

- Bloody thing.

- Just trying to remember who you are.

She's just very pleased

to see you.

Arthur's very pleased too.

- Is he?

- Of course he is.

Gosh, "Where's Blake? Where's Blake?"

Is all I've had for days now.

Sorry, I would've gotten down sooner,

it's that new house and everything.

No, it's fine, darling.

He knows how busy you are.

I made up your old bedroom,

when you want to take your stuff up.

Down the corridor, up the stairs,

first on the right.

Blake? Blake, where are you?

Come on. She's here.

Come on, chop-chop.

She's here, Blake.

Come and say hello.


Sandra, how are you?

I'm Arthur. This is Kim.

This is our youngest, Gillian.

Blake is somewhere,

probably still asleep.

On a beautiful day like today.

Blake, come and say hello to Sandra.

This is the kitchen.

Have you ever cooked on an Aga before?

- No.

- Sandra, would you like a cup of tea?

Yes, please.

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David Nicholls

David Nicholls was born in 1966 in Hampshire, England. He is a writer and actor, known for One Day (2011), Starter for 10 (2006) and Far from the Madding Crowd (2015). He is married to Hanna. They have two children. more…

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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